Wednesday’s Rugby News 26/10/2022

Wednesday’s Rugby News 26/10/2022

In today’s rugby news the Wallaroos have their work cut out when facing the Red Roses, Lord Laurie gives “lazy” Wallabies both barrels, Nigel Owens has had enough TMO and Suzie the waitress strikes again.

Red Roses might be alright

Embed from Getty Images

Sam Worthington at Nine reports that England’s women’s rugby team might be OK (or, to quote the article, “might just be the best sporting side you have never heard of“).

Since losing to New Zealand in 2019, the Red Roses have peeled off a remarkable 28 straight wins – a tier one Test rugby world record for men or women. The men’s world record is shared by the 2015-16 All Blacks and Eddie Jones’ England side of 2015-17. Those teams both won 18 Tests in a row. The fully professional Red Roses are favourites to win the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand after demolishing South Africa 75-0 in Sunday’s final group game.

Meanwhile, the plucky Wallaroos, who are relying on per diem payments (as well as Aussie grit, determination, ANZAC spirit and larrikinism) at the tournament as Rugby Australia targets the delivery of professional contracts by 2025.

“England v Australia in a World Cup – it doesn’t get any better than that, does it? We don’t get that many opportunities to play teams from the southern hemisphere for obvious reasons so we were sort of hoping we would play Australia – for no other reason than that,” said England coach Simon ‘Pippa’s backside’ Middleton ahead of Sunday’s quarter-final at Waitakere Stadium.

The Wallaroos face the Soap Dodgers 10:30am AEST (11.30am curtain-fading time) on Sunday 30 October 2022.


Rugby 365 reported on Friday (but wasn’t picked up by the Tah-centric show pony who does Friday news) that Laurie Fisher makes no apologies for trying to restore order in the Wallabies ranks and drag Australia back to the top of world rugby.

Two months ago, 64 year old “Lord” Laurie Fisher received the call-up as an interim Wallabies assistant coach to Dave Rennie. He replaced Matt Taylor as defence coach in the ugly aftermath to Australia’s record 17-48 loss to Argentina in San Juan in August.

We looked at one clip from the second Argentina Test, which is really just about work rate, about communication, like [having] our hands on knees, line speed. Edges not pushing edges – lazy,” the magic wizard said before departing on the Wallabies’ five-Test year-end tour of Europe. “I saw one clip from that game and said ‘This can’t be us. If that’s us, we may as well not go to the World Cup. We’ve got nothing’. That’s my starting point and we had one moment in the New Zealand game that very much reflected that Argentinian moment. So I showed that [footage] again and said ‘Listen, boys, [this is] unacceptable’.

Fisher hopes the brutal honesty sessions will help transform the Wallabies from erratic, ninth-ranked pretenders to 2023 World Cup contenders. “In Test rugby, you’ve got to be good all the time,” he said. “You have a 30-second moment, anyone like the Kiwis have got seven points on you and you’re chasing your backside. So we’ve just got to be better, stronger as a group and just be really accountable to each other. Discipline comes from doing your basics well,” he said. “If you’re good in front-end collisions, if you’re good around breakdown, you’re not giving away the penalties. You’re not under pressure. If you’re getting in front defensively and not slacking, you’re not giving away offside penalties. This tour is all about really, really developing our basics, valuing our basics and bedding all that down. Ground zero. We’re going to get that right and we’re going grow from there.”

Nigel Owens wants reduced TMO use & intervention

Embed from Getty Images

Eloise’s preferred paper to read with her breakfast laverbread, Wales Online, has published a Nigel Owens column about the TMO.

Owens criticised the emerging trend of referees treating the TMO like a safety net, saying “We want referees to make decisions on the field. If it’s blatantly obvious, the TMO can come back to it. That will reduce the amount of stoppages, but it needs referees to go out there with the attitude of making all the decisions themselves, rather than leaning on the TMO all the time. I’d scale back the TMO protocol to what they can come in on. When I was refereeing 12 years ago, they could only come in on try decisions. They couldn’t come in throughout the match on incidents from three phases before or whatever. As a result, there’s a lot more discussion and people expect the perfect match. That’s not possible.”

Regarding “smart ball” and similar technology, Owens said “…they want to extend the presence of technology in football and you end up with three minutes of VAR checking borderline offsides or handballs. At the end of all that, few people are satisfied with the outcome and you’re often better off just making the decision there and then because even technology doesn’t provide a clear answer every time. Technology has its part in the game, but when it becomes the ruling factor in the game, it’s overstepped its mark and it starts to hinder the referee’s performance. We can’t have that.”

More generally: “In the game of rugby, just like life, there’s a lot of grey. For you to negotiate all that grey, you need a bit of common sense and empathy, but also the framework of the laws to give you guidance. But all that grey means there’s room for interpretation. For example, you might see the winger is offside on the far side, but because the scrum-half has already gone down the blindside to the other side of play, you might not necessarily penalise him as his actions are inconsequential. It’s about what has material effect sometimes. That can be frustrating for some fans watching as it can look like inconsistency. They can question why one offside was penalised 10 minutes ago but this one wasn’t. The reason is that one had an effect on the game and another didn’t.”

If the “materiality” thing were true, surely KARL or Charlie would have mentioned it by now.

Ulster & Glasgow Warriors call-off shorks & lions matches due to Braai Belly

Embed from Getty Images

Rugbypass reports that Ulster and Glasgow Warriors were both forced to postpone their United Rugby Championship games in South Africa this weekend due to outbreaks of “gastroenteritis infections”. The Warriors were due to face the Lions in Johannesburg, with Ulster scheduled to play the Shorks in Durban. Speculation about the cause of the gastro problems was rife at the weekend – with suggestions of players having swum in ‘contaminated water’ or food poisoning.

A statement issued by Ulster on Sunday confirmed that both E. coli and Norovirus were found in tested samples. Humans may be exposed to E. coli from contaminated water or food, while Norovirus – a very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhoea – is also the result of consuming contaminated food and water. While both teams were in Durban this past week they did not stay in the same hotel.

[Despite this reported fact, see the comment of Shorks fan “Hank” beneath the linked article: “Did both teams stay at the same hotel ? This is a very serious complaint and should be investigated thoroughly.”]

They also denied swimming in contaminated water. In a surprise move, South Africa’s Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus was involved in heated debates about the allocation of points should the matches be cancelled.


A reclusive Reds-supporting bushland creature.

More in Rugby